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fessor of ethics. Instead of epigrammatic dialogue, he only meets with inconclusive arguments and prejudiced opinions regarding the ritual of some peculiar sect. In the great majority of cases he can recognize no glowing delineations of female loveliness or of manly virtue no bold developement of the darker lineaments of humanity -no indications of humour-no masterly strokes of satire-no touches of pathos-no graphic descriptions-no elegant fluency of diction. In short, every page is full of dull monotonous cant; and it is, in general, difficult to determine, whether the work ought to be despised for its insipidity, or for the profane allusions with which it abounds.
as a set of banditti would almost blush for," and as guilty of making the Bible itself" food for low puns and wretched witticisms." It would be ridiculous to refute such aspersions. They are levelled against men whose respectability and talent as a body cannot be disputed; and we only pity the imbecility, and smile at the malignity, of the vituperator.
To complete the dramatis persona, we meet with a Miss Jessy M'Fie, a half-crazed Scottish Dissenter, and a Dr Campion and his son, who have some scrambling for the hand of Florence; which, however, is interrupted by the apoplectic demise of the old gentleman.
Such are the main features of this novel (erroneously so called); and we submit to our readers whether or not they substantiate our verdict regarding it.
The volumes now before us were written for the purpose of elucidating certain tenets of the Roman Catholic creed. We have expressed our general opinion regarding publications of this calibre, and certainly the present work tends to confirm that opinion. It may contain an accurate exposition of Catholic Theology; but, as a novel, it has no merit, and it is exclusively as a novel that it appears before the public. Indeed, we can hardly conceive a more ridiculous story than the one here unfolded. It would seem that the heroine, originally an Episcopalian, visits a Catholic chapel with her mother. On her return home, the young lady is taken violently ill, and a doctor having arrived, he receives the fearful intelligence that the amiable Miss Florence Stanhope, the paragon of beauty and perfection, had actually "shivered after having eaten half an egg;" although, as it is extremely important and instructive to observe," she often eats a whole one without injury;" on which account, opines the sagacious Mrs Stanhope," I should rather imagine, that the previous state of the stomach caused the aversion, than that it was occasioned by the food I speak of." This, however, though a very plausible supposition, and highly creditable to the gastronomical research of the author, is not the real cause of the malady. Florence has been impressed by the priest's eloquence she wishes to become a convert to his principles, and her desires in this respect are ultimately gratified. The process by which her conversion takes place, constitutes the sole materials of the plot. And who are the principal actors that contribute to the What is the termination BER in the names of the months advancement of this noble denouement? We are first September, October, &c.? An eminent philologist sugintroduced to the heroine, who possesses those attrac-gests, that it may be the latter fragment of IMEER, as showtions with which puling sensibility can invest her. Her er-as if regular rains characterized the Latin months, mother occupies a more prominent part in the scene. which is not the case. As the Romans and Greeks took She relates her history at full length; and, judging from all their astronomical notions from the Ægyptians and its incidents, the propriety of her deportment seems some- Orientalists, it is more likely, that, with the division of what questionable. By her own confession, even before the year into twelve months, and the division of the day marriage, her mysterious seclusion from society for seve- into twelve hours, they adopted also the Oriental word ral weeks, without any apparent reason, tended to cast a BAR or BER, signifying time, turn, or revolution, and ansuspicion over her conduct; and after marriage, she is nexed it, as the Orientalists did, to their own cardinal rather awkwardly found in an arbour with another wo- numbers, to denote the revolutions or turns of the moon. man's husband, who, with all the ardour of impassioned To this day (as the Indians did in Sanskrit) the Persians love, beseeches her to be " his guardian angel." And yet say YAK-BAR, DO-BAR, &c. one-time, two-times, writing them, this worthy matron can spiritualize, like Hervey, on a not as two words separate, but as one word, just as the green gooseberry. She has a sister, whose great delight Latins did in the names of their months. consists in field sports-in angling-in taking long journeys alone in public vehicles and in sometimes assuming masculine attire. Her appearance awakens the amorous propensities of a Mr Ashburn, a Catholic divine, who is consulted on all occasions, as the infallible oracle of Scriptural knowledge. While in one page he inculcates obedience to God's law, he, in the next page, eloquently describes the graces of the fair nymph; and, as he gazes on her well-proportioned feet and ankles, adorned in the Diana style," he candidly declares that she is "an extraordinary fine woman." Albeit such expressions, in such circumstances, are somewhat unsuitable to the clerical character, they are, perhaps, more excusable than the bigoted sentiments contained in a letter from a friend of his, who is on a visit to Edinburgh. In it the Scotch clergy are represented as licentious in their conduct-as lamentably deficient in intellectual attainments as exhibiting in their church courts, “such rancour, backbiting, and forebiting,
A FEW REMARKS ON WORDS.
By William Tennant, Author of " Anster Fair," &c.
Wing'd words that fly, with eye-confounding speed,
Or all the vocables uttered by man, the word SHTA, is, sro, stand, is the most universal, and has the most multitudinous family of derivatives. We find it in an immense variety of shapes in every modern and ancient language. It is to be seen in maps of the south of Asia, in Hindoostan, Cafferistan, &c.; in maps of the north of Europe, in Carlstad, Jacobstad, &c. We hear it every day in Scotland in farm-steadin', house-stance, &c. We cannot read a single page of a Greek, Latin, English, Italian, Spanish, or German book, without meeting it in one or other of its multiplied phases. A little volume might be made up of the many words formed, throughout the various languages, from this single syllable. Its root is to be found in Sanskrit and Hebrew.
It is curious to observe how the same vocable, with the same signification, is current in countries separated by great distances; one or two instances only of such identities are sufficient to prove, that such nations must, at some period or other of their history, have been connected. Our Scottish word dochter, after gliding, like another Alpheus, through the German ocean, pops up its head, somewhat distorted and disguised, in Saxony, in the shape and sound of TOCHTER; and, after an immense hiatus of separation, reappears, in the very same shape and guise, on the plains of Persia and Baloochistan. Our English word tree is to be found in Sanskrit. Our homely word palaver is, with short intervals of interruption, found current nearly in the same meridian line from pole to pole; it is a classical word, as we all know, in the Doric of Scotland; it passes subterraneously through the soil of England-reappears in Spain and Portugal-crosses the straits of
Hercules, and reigns predominant throughout all the gold-besmeared, semi-barbarous courts of Western Africa. The words wine, linen, sack (a bag), have been always current throughout ancient and modern Europe. The Phoenician traders, probably, exported these commodities to the various countries, and, with the commodities, exported also their names; just as the words shawl and tea are now current throughout the world.
In all cultivated languages, saving one, the substantive verb, unless used in the infinitive mood, has a nominative after it as well as before it. In the Arabic language, the substantive verb governs an accusative, like other active verbs. Our common people follow the Arabic idiom, and say, It is me, It was him, &c.
In the Latin language, the word opus-in the Greek, gyo-and in Persic, KAE-all signifying work or business —are used in the sense of need and necessity. The Latin Grammarians have absurdly made of opus, used in this sense, an indeclinable substantive and indeclinable adjective.
nothing between them. Of the Latin word asinus, the English language has appropriated to itself the ass, and the Greek has contented itself, we know not how, with the όνος. Of the Egyptian word PHIROM, (a man,) the Latins have made two, chopping it down, like a polypus, into two animated and current words, VIR and HOMO ; and, by the by, the former word vIR, a hero, occurs in Sanskrit. In old Scythian, Herodotus says, Aor denoted a man. From the Egyptian word, probably the Greek aveguros was likewise derived.
The word barbarus is, probably, of Ægyptian or Phonician origin, and means only a foreigner. Herodotus says, the Ægyptians called all those Bagbago who spoke not their own language. Plutarch says it is a Spartan word, which strengthens our suspicion of its Ægyptian origin, as the Spartans regarded themselves as a colony from the Nile, and claimed cognation not only with Ægypt, but also with the Jews, as we learn from the second Book of Maccabees. Bagcagopavos therefore means, not those (as Strabo thinks) who stutter, speak negligently, or barbarously, but merely those who speak a foreign language. The word BARBAR occurs in the Old Testament, and is there used, I imagine, in its radical signification. It is translated by our interpreters " fatted fowl;" but, as Michaelis suggests, it more probably means wild fowls in opposition to tame-so that the primary meaning of this word may be found to be-wild in opposition to tame-foreign in opposition to native.
It is worthy of observation, that in several languages, the word denoting town is either the same with, or obviously deduced from, that denoting a hill or mountain. In Sanskrit they differ only in one letter; the German burg (whence comes our word borough) is evidently derived from berg, a mountain. The Latin word pagus, a country-town, is the Greek #ayos; and our word town itself is nothing else than DUN, an eminence or hill, which we prefix to our terms, as in Dun-edin, Dun-fermline; but the Latins postfixed, (as the Greeks did woλs,) as in Carrodinium, Ebrodinium, and a multitude of other names, from Spain to Scythia. Either the first builders of cities might have chosen such elevated situations for the sake of greater security and defence; or, we may adopt Plato's notion, that, immediately after the flood, men, still trembling at that dreadful catastrophe, and yet not quite secure against its recurrence, chose the tops of hills as being less in danger of being surmounted by the waters.
The Phoenicians and Egyptians, who seem to have had many words in common, appear to have given the first names to many islands, mountains, and countries. Mount Etna, (a furnace,) Scylla, (destruction,) Charybdis, (hole of perdition,) Gades or Gadin, (fence or bound,) Ida, (a pillar or column,) are, in all likelihood, the names | given to these places by the first Phoenician or Ægyptian navigators. If the Ægyptian word olb signified an island, it is perhaps the origin of Albion, a name given to our island, not by the natives, but by foreigners. One of the kings of Ægypt, according to Herodotus, constructed, in a marsh, an artificial island for his residence, which he called Olb. The island Elba, the river Elb, from some island in its course, have, perhaps, had the same origin.
Words, in emigrating from one country to another adjoining, and thence to others more distant, suffer such dreadful mutilations and distortions, as scarcely to be recognized. Who, without knowing how much it has suffered in gliding to us through the French and Italian, could detect, in our English word surgeon, the two Greek words xug and gyo? Who could discover the dwarfish word alms to be the gigantic λnposuvn? kirk to be zugian? strange to be extraneus? Even when the sounds and the syllables are the same, their senses are utterly deflected. Of KNECHT, a hind or slave, we have made a knight, one of our highest dignities. Of BANCO, a poor plain plank for sitting, we have made banker, bank, bench of Bishops. KATHEDRA, a chair, is converted into a huge church. Of the Hebrew negative, AIN, (not, nothing,) the Greeks have stolen the A, the Latins the IN,-thus dividing, like most conscientious thieves,
Of the words denoting parts of the human body, the nose appears to be the most cosmopolitan and prevalent. It occurs in Sanskrit in NAIS, Latin NASUS, Greek (by Metathesis) 'givos, whence NARIS, French NEZ, Italian NASO, German NASE, &c. We have it in maps, denoting a cape or promontory, in Fife-ness, Buchan-ness, Nase of Norway; even up in Russia, beyond Archangel, in NANIN-NOSS, SVIATOI-NOSS, &c. The foot, too, is very prevalent; in Sanskrit PAD, Persic PA, Greek Tous, Latin res, &c.
The Sanskrit word PET, signifying motion, is the origin of the Latin verb petere, whose primary meaning Dr Hunter, with his usual acuteness, considers to be merely motion. This meaning of the verb, which ought to be its first and leading one, Ainsworth has made the eleventh and most remote. From this word are derived also the Greek words πετομαι, πετάομαι, υπερπέτης, δυπετης, &c., and, perhaps, IT, contracted from IT-all including the idea of motion. Of the Latin verb, used in the sense of aiming at, moving towards, (as in the phrase, "Taurus petit cornibus,") the English have made, "the bull butts with his horns;" but our Scottish forefathers have stuck closer to the Sanskrit orthoepy, and said, “the bull putts with his horns."
Devongrove, Dollar, 4th June, 1829.
A TALE OF THE PLAGUE IN EDINBURGH.
By Robert Chambers, Author of " The Traditions of Edinburgh," the "Histories of the Scottish Rebellions," &c.
In several parts of Scotland, such things are to be found as tales of the Plague. Amidst so much human suffering as the events of a pestilence necessarily involved, it is of course to be supposed that, occasionally, circumstances would occur of a peculiarly disastrous and affecting description, that many loving hearts would be torn asunder, or laid side by side in the grave, many orphans left desolate, and patriarchs bereft of all their descendants,-and that cases of so painful a sort as called forth greater compassion at the time, would be remembered, after much of the ordinary details was generally forgotten. The celebrated story of Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, is a case in
point. So romantic, so mournful a tale, appealing as it does to every bosom, could not fail to be commemorated, even though it had been destitute of the great charm of locality. Neither could such a tale of suffering and horror as that of the Teviotdale shepherd's family (already alluded to in a former article upon this subject) ever be forgotten in the district where it occurred,—interesting as it is, has been, and will be, to every successive generation of mothers, and duly listened to and shuddered at by so many infantine audiences. In the course of our researches, we have likewise picked up a few extraordinary circumstances connected with the last visit paid by the plague to Edinburgh; which, improbable as they may perhaps appear, we believe to be, to a certain extent, allied to truth, and shall now submit them to our readers.
When Edinburgh was afflicted, for the last time, with the pestilence, such was its effect upon the energies of the citizens, and so long was its continuance, that the grass grew on the principal street, and even at the Cross, though that Scottish Rialto was then perhaps the most crowded thoroughfare in Britain. Silence, more than that of the stillest midnight, pervaded the streets during the day. The sunlight fell upon the quiet houses as it falls on a line of sombre and neglected tombstones in some sequestered churchyard-gilding, but not altering, their desolate features. The area of the High Street, on being entered by a stranger, might have been contemplated with feelings similar to those with which Christian, in the Pilgrim's Progress, viewed the awful court-yard of Giant Despair; for, as in that well-imagined scene, the very ground bore the marks of wildness and desolation; every window around, like the loop-holes of the dungeons in Doubting Castle, seemed to tell its tale of misery within, and the whole seemed to lie prostrate and powerless under the dominion of an unseen demon, which fancy might have conceived as stalking around in a bodily form, leisurely dooming its subjects to successive execution.
When the pestilence was at its greatest height, a strange perplexity began, and not without reason, to take possession of the few physicians and nurses who attended the sick. It was customary for the distempered to die, or, as the rare case happened, to recover, on a particular day after having first exhibited symptoms of illness. This was an understood rule of the plague, which had never been known to fail. All at once, it began to appear that a good many people, especially those who were left alone in their houses by the death or desertion of friends, died before the arrival of the critical day. In some of these cases, not only was the rule of the disease broken, but, what vexed the physicians more, the powers of medicine seemed to have been set at defiance; for several patients of distinction, who had been able to purchase good attendance, and were therefore considered as in less than ordinary danger, were found to have expired after taking salutary drugs, and being left with good hopes by their physicians. It almost seemed as if some new disease were beginning to engraft itself upon the pestilence-a new feature rising upon its horrid aspect. Subtle and fatal as it formerly was, it was now inconceivably more so. It could formerly be calculated upon; but it was now quite arbitrary and precarious. Medicine had lost its power over it. God, who created it in its first monstrous form, appeared to have endowed it with an additional sting, against which feeble mortality could present no competent shield. Physicians beheld its new ravages with surprise and despair; and a deeper shade of horror was spread, in consequence, over the public mind.
As an air of more than natural mystery seemed to accompany this truly calamitous turn of affairs, it was, of course, to be expected, in that superstitious age, that many would attribute it to a more than natural cause. By the ministers, it was taken for an additional manifestation of God's wrath, and as such held forth in not a few pulpits, accompanied with all the due exhortations to a better life, which it was not unlikely would be attended with good
effect among the thin congregations of haggard and terrified scarecrows, who persisted in meeting regularly at places of worship. The learned puzzled themselves with conjectures as to its probable causes and cures; while the common people gave way to the most wild and fanciful surmises, almost all of which were as far from the truth. The only popular observation worthy of any attention, was, that the greater part of those who suffered from this new disease died during the night, and all of them while unattended.
Not many days after the alarm first arose, a poor woman arrested a physician in the street, and desired to confer with him a brief space. He at first shook her off, saying he was at present completely engaged, and could take no new patients. But when she informed him that she did not desire his attendance, and only wished to communicate something which might help to clear up the mystery of the late premature deaths, he stopped and lent a patient ear. She told him that on the previous night, having occasion to leave her house, in order to visit a sick neighbour, who lay upon a lonely death-bed in the second flat below her own garret, she took a lamp in her hand, that she might the better find her way down. As she descended the stair, which she described as a turnpike, or spiral one, she heard a low and inexpressibly doleful moan, as if proceeding from the house of her neighbour,-such a moan, she said, as she had never heard proceed from any of the numerous death-beds it had been her lot to attend. She hastened faster down the stair than her limbs were well able to carry her, under the idea that her friend was undergoing some severe suffering, which she might be able to alleviate. Before, however, she had reached the first landing-place, a noise, as of footsteps, arose from the house of pain, and caused her to apprehend that all was not right in a house which she knew no one ever visited, in that time of desolation, but herself. She quickened her pace still more than before, and soon reached the landing-place at her neighbour's door. Something, as she expressed it, seeming to swoof down the stair, like the noise of a full garment brushing the walls of a narrow passage, she drew in the lamp, and looking down beyond it, saw what she conceived to be the dark drapery of the back of a tall human figure, loosely clad, moving, or rather gliding, out of sight, and in a moment gone. So uncertain was she at first of the reality of what she saw, that she believed it to be the shadow of the central pile of the stair gliding downwards as she brought round the light; but the state of matters in the inside of the house soon convinced her, to her horror, that it must have been something more dreadful and real-the unfortunate woman being dead; though as yet it was three days till the time when, according to the old rules of the disease, she might have lived or died. The physician heard this story with astonishment; but as it only informed his mind, which was not free from superstition, that the whole matter was becoming more and more mysterious, he drew no conclusions from it, but simply observing, with a professional shake of the head, that all was not right in the town, went upon his way.
The old woman, who, of course, could not be expected to let so good a subject of gossip and wonderment lie idle in her mind, like the guinea kept by the Vicar of Wakefield's daughters, forthwith proceeded to dissipate it abroad among her neighbours, who soon (to follow out the idea of the coin) reduced it into still larger and coarser pieces, and paid it away, in that exaggerated form, to a wider circle of neighbours, by whom it was speedily dispersed in various shapes over the whole town. popular mind, like the ear of a sick man, being then peculiarly sensitive, received the intelligence with a degree of alarm, such as the news of a lost battle has not always occasioned amongst a people; and, as the atmosphere is best calculated for the conveyance of sound during the time of frost, so did the air of the plague seem peculiarly
well fitted for the propagation of this fearful report. The whole of the people were impressed, on hearing the story, with a feeling of undefined awe, mixed with horror. The back of a tall figure, in dark long clothes, seen but for a moment! There was a picturesque indistinctness in the description, which left room for the imagination; taken in conjunction, too, with the moan heard at first by the old woman on the stair, and the demise of the sick woman at the very time, it was truly startling. To add to the panic, a report arose next day, that the figure had been seen on the preceding evening, by different persons, flitting about various stairs and alleys, always in the shade, and disappearing immediately after being first perceived. An idea began to prevail that it was the image of Death-Death, who had thus come in his impersonated form, to a city which seemed to have been placed so peculiarly under his dominion, in order to execute his office with the greater promptitude. It was thought, if so fantastic a dream may be assigned to the thinking faculty, that the grand destroyer, who, in ordinary times is invisible, might, perhaps, have the power of rendering himself palpable to the sight in cases where he approached his victims, under circumstances of peculiar horror; and this wild imagination was the more fearful, inasmuch as it was supposed that, with the increase of the mortality, he would become more and more distinctly visible, till, perhaps, after having dispatched all, he would burst forth in open triumph, and roam at large throughout a city of desolation.
It happened, on the second day after the rise of this popular fancy, that an armed ship, of a very singular construction, and manned by a crew of strangely foreignlooking men, entered Leith harbour. It was a Barbary rover; but the crew showed no intention of hostility to the town of Leith, though at the present pass it would have fallen an easy prey to their arms, being quite as much afflicted with the pestilence as its metropolitan neighbour. A detachment of the crew, comprising one who appeared to be the commander, immediately landed, and proceeded to Edinburgh, which they did not scruple to enter. They enquired for the provost, and, on being conducted to the presence of that dignitary, their chief disclosed their purpose in thus visiting Edinburgh, which was the useful one of supplying it in its present distress with a cargo of drugs, approved in the East for their efficacy against the plague, and a few men who could undertake to administer them properly to the sick. The provost heard this intelligence with overflowing eyes; for, besides the anxiety he felt about the welfare of the city, he was especially interested in the health of his daughter, and only child, who happened to be involved in the common calamity. The terms proposed by the Africans were somewhat exorbitant. They demanded to have the half of the wealth of those whom they restored to health. But the provost told them that he believed many of the most wealthy citizens would be glad to employ them on these terms; and, for his own part, he was willing to sacrifice any thing he had, short of his salvation, for the behalf of his daughter. Assured of at least the safety of their persons and goods, the strangers drew from their ship a large quantity of medicines, and began that very | evening to attend as physicians, those who chose to call them in. The captain-a man in the prime of life, and remarkable amongst the rest for his superior dress and bearing—engaged himself to attend the provost's daughter, who had now nearly reached the crisis of the distemper, and hitherto had not been expected to survive.
The house of Sir John Smith, the provost of Edinburgh, in the year 1645, was situated in the Cap-andFeather close, an alley occupying the site of the present North Bridge. The bottom of this alley being closed, there was no thoroughfare or egress towards the North Loch; but the provost's house possessed this convenience, being the tenement which closed the lower extremity, and having a back-door that opened upon an alley to
the eastward, namely, Halkerston's Wynd.* This house was, at the time we speak of, crammed full of valuable goods, plate, &c. which had been deposited in the provost's hands by many of his afflicted fellow-citizens, under the impression that, if they survived, he was honest enough to restore them unimpaired, and, if otherwise, he was worthy to inherit them. His daughter, who had been seized before it was found possible to remove her from the town, lay in a little room at the back of the house, which, besides one door opening from the large staircase in the front, had also a more private entry communicating with the narrower and obsolete turnpike behind. At that time, little precaution was taken any where in Scotland about the locking of doors. To have the door simply closed, so that the fairies could not enter, was in general considered sufficient, as it is at the present day in many remote parts. In Edinburgh, during the time of the plague, the greatest indifference to security of this sort prevailed. In general, the doors were left unlocked from within, in order to admit the cleansers, or any charitable neighbour who might come to minister to the bed-rid sick. This was not exactly the case in Sir John Smith's house; for the main-door was scrupulously locked, with a view to the safety of the goods committed to his charge. Nevertheless, from neglect, or from want of apprehension, the posterior entrance was afterwards found to have been not so well secured.
The Barbary physician had administered a potion to his patient soon after his admission into the house. He knew that symptoms either favourable or unfavourable would speedily appear, and he therefore resolved to remain in the room in order to watch the result. About midnight, as he sat in a remote corner of the room, looking towards the bed upon which his charge was extended, while a small lamp burned upon a low table between, he was suddenly surprised to observe something like a dark cloud, unaccompanied by any noise, interpose itself slowly and gradually between his eyes and the bed. He at first thought that he was deceived,—that he was beginning to fall asleep,-or that the strange appearance was occasioned by some peculiarity of the light, which, being placed almost directly between him and the bed, caused him to see the latter object very indistinctly. He was soon undeceived by hearing a noise the slightest possible-and perceiving something like motion in the illdefined lineaments of the apparition. Gracious heaven! thought he, can this be the angel of death hovering over his victim, preparing to strike the mortal blow, and ready to receive the departing soul into the inconceivable recesses of its awful form? It almost appeared as if the cloud stooped over the bed for the performance of this task. Presently, the patient uttered a half-suppressed sigh, and then altogether ceased the regular respirations, which had hitherto been monotonous and audible throughout the room. The awe-struck attendant could contain himself no longer, but permitted a sort of cry to escape him, and started to his feet. The cloud instantly, as it were, rose from its inclined posture over the bed, turned hastily round, and, in a moment contracting itself into a human shape, glided softly, but hastily, from the apartment. Ha! thought the African, I have known such personages as this in Aleppo. These angels of death are sometimes found to be mortal themselves-I shall pursue and try. He, therefore, quickly followed the phantom through the private door by which it had escaped, not forgetting to seize his semicircular sword in passing the table where it lay. The stair was dark and steep; but he kept his feet till he reached the bottom. Casting, then, a hasty glance around him, he perceived a shadow vanish from the moon-lit ground, at an angle of the
This miserable place possesses an interest of which the most of
our readers cannot be aware. It received its name from the circumstance of a brave young man, by name David Halkerstoun, the brother of the ancestor of the celebrated Hackstoun of Rathillet, baving been killed in it in 1544, when defending the town against the English under the Earl of Hertford.
house, and instantly started forward in the pursuit. He soon found himself in the open wynd above-mentioned, along which he supposed the mysterious object to have gone. All here was dark; but being certain of the course adopted by the pursued party, he did not hesitate a moment in plunging headlong down its steep profundity. He was confirmed in his purpose by immediately afterwards observing, at some distance in advance, a small jet of moonlight, proceeding from a side alley, obscured for a second by what he conceived to be the transit of a large dark object. This he soon also reached, and finding that his own person caused a similar obscurity, he was confirmed in his conjecture that the apparition bore a substantial form. Still forward and downward he boldly rushed, till, reaching an open area at the bottom, part of which was lighted by the moon, he plainly saw, at the distance of about thirty yards before him, the figure as of a tall man, loosely enveloped in a prodigious cloak, gliding along the ground, and apparently making for a small bridge, which at this particular place crossed the drain of the North Loch, and served as a communication with the village called Mutries Hill. He made directly for the fugitive, thinking to overtake him almost before he could reach the bridge. But what was his surprise, when in a moment the flying object vanished from his sight, as if it had sunk into the ground, and left him alone and objectless in his headlong pursuit. It was possible that it had fallen into some concealed well or pit, but this he was never able to discover. Bewildered and confused, he at length returned to the provost's house, and re-entered the apartment of the sick maiden. To his delight and astonishment he found her already in a state of visible convalescence, with a gradually deepening glow of health diffusing itself over her cheek. Whether his courage and fidelity had been the means of scaring away the evil demon it is impossible to say; but certain it is, that the ravages of the plague began soon afterwards to decline in Edinburgh, and at length died away altogether.
The conclusion of this singular traditionary story bears, that the provost's daughter, being completely restored to health, was married to the foreigner who had
saved her life. This seems to have been the result of an affection which they had conceived for each other during the period of her convalescence. The African, becoming joint-heir with his wife of the provost's vast property, abandoned his former piratical life, became, it is said, a douce Presbyterian, and settled down for the remainder of his days in Edinburgh. The match turned out exceedingly well; and it is even said that the foreigner became so assimilated with the people of Edinburgh, to whom he had proved so memorable a benefactor, that he held at one time an office of considerable civic dignity and importance. Certain it is, that he built for his residence a magnificent land near the head of the Canongate, upon the front of which he caused to be erected a statue of the Emperor of Barbary, in testimony of the respect he still cherished for his native country; and this memorial yet remains in its original niche, as a subsidiary proof of the verity of the above relation.
In forming an estimate of the general respectability of the Edinburgh company, two things are to be taken into consideration; first, the present state of the British stage; and second, the comparative rank which, as belonging to a provincial theatre, our company ought to hold. To put these two things out of view, and then to launch forth into pompous commonplaces, which tend to prove that our resident performers are not the very best under the sun, and that a considerably better corps dramatique is to be met with in the metropolis of the country, is merely to state, under the pretended garb of impartial
criticism, what must be apparent to the meanest capacity, and what none but a frothy nincompoop would ever be at the trouble of gravely setting down on paper. We love to pry into abuses as much as most men,-it is flattering to our own discrimination to make them apparent, and to have them rooted out; and as all mortal managers are fallible creatures, it will be a long while before any of them find us telling them that we can see nothing about their establishment which demands improvement. Nevertheless, surly, rough, and sturdy though we be,— continually snuffing out hidden imperfections with all our three noses,—we have a touch of a softer nature about us ; and we are well aware that no man is entitled to attempt criticism, who has not an eye as apt to perceive merit, and a heart as ready to feel it, as a tongue and pen prepared and willing to expose blundering imbecility, and check presumptuous ignorance. Criticism is not the art of finding fault ;-it is the art of nicely discriminating between what is good and what is bad,—of praising the former, and of deprecating the latter.
On the whole, we are decidedly prepared to support the present management of our theatre. There is, occasionally, a little humbug in the system, and perhaps rather too great a leaning to parsimony,—a certain timidity and caution in the finance department, which leaves more room to laud the prudence than the spirit of the patentee; but take it for all in all, and we can state safely, and from some experience in these matters, that it would be difficult to point out a provincial theatre,-especially one which is not over-liberally encouraged,—better regulated in all its departments. To make this the more apparent, let us recur, for a moment, to what we stated at the outset. At present the stage over the whole country is at a low ebb. If we except a few respectable comedians, and these almost exclusively of the male sex, whom have we to boast of? Kean is a man of genius, but his own follies render that genius little to be counted on ;-Young is falling into the sear and yellow leaf;-Charles Kemble was always pleasing and graceful, but rarely any thing more;-Macready is good only in a very few characters; -Wallack, Ward, Cooper, Pemberton, Vandenhoff, are, at the best, only dii minorum gentium. With the exception of the two last named, all these persons belong to some of the theatres in London; and there is scarcely such a thing as provincial celebrity, either in England or Ireland. But even in London we have at Drury-Lane no Othello but Young, who is quite unfit for the part now, and no lago but Cooper, who never was fit for it at all; and at Covent-Garden, when "Venice Preserved" was performed the other evening, the character of Pierre was sustained by Mr C. Kemble, and that of Jaffier by an unknown individual named Cathcart. As for a Belvidera, there is confessedly no such thing upon the stage_ for Miss Phillips is merely respectable, and Miss Smithson seems to be a failure. Now, this being the state of matters in the metropolis, with what kind of justice are we entitled to accuse a provincial manager of having no tragedians of eminence, or of great ability, in his company? We presume a provincial manager cannot make tragedians as Dutch potters make images. And if he cannot make them, where is he to find them? Before we get into a rage with deficiencies of this sort, let us point out an evident method by which these deficiencies might be supplied. We do not know of one tragedian worth having out of London, with the single exception, perhaps, of Vandenhoff-and even in London, there is scarcely one we would go much out of our way to see. And all last season the worst houses here were invariably on the nights on which Vandenhoff performed; which showed, either that the people had got tired of him, or that, in these light fantastic times, tragedy was considered a drug. Vandenhoff
was, therefore, not re-engaged this season; but, if our citizens wish it, we take it upon our responsibility to promise that he shall be brought back next,-that is to say, if he will come; for it is a remarkable fact, too litri